Last month the NEC Group sanctioned a feasibility study to ‘envisage and create a new look and feel’ for the National Indoor Arena (NIA). Spearheaded by international architects Broadway Malyan, a team of development/venue professionals will look at all aspects of the site from structure to catering, attempting to ascertain ways of improvement. Consumer experience and utalisation of the canalside have been cited as significant factors.
‘We’re on the starting blocks to transform the NIA,’ says Phil Mead, NEC Group Managing Director of Arenas. ‘We have found an innovate practice that can turn our vision into a reality. We want our visitors… to enjoy the experience from the moment they arrive.’ Previous complaints about the NIA have highlighted accessibility and external visage.
The NIA is currently a 13,500 capacity seated venue, hosting a varied programme of sporting, comedy and music. Eric Clapton, Oasis and Justin Timberlake have all performed at the NIA, with Alexandra Burke, Justin Bieber and The James Last Orchestra confirmed to appear in 2011.
The NIA feasibility study is set for completion in January 2011, with projected work to begin on site later in the year. Following the £29million refurbishment of the now titled LG Arena, originally the NEC Arena, the NEC Group appears to be fighting back against recession. A budget for the NIA revamp will be set after the conclusion and analysis of the feasibility study, with title rights and sponsorship opportunities again being considered.